Loyola University Chicago

First-Year Experience

Loyola Seminar

The Loyola Seminar courses (UNIV 102) are intended to provide Loyola University Chicago's first-year students with an academic experience that exposes them to active and collaborative learning in a supportive environment. Courses are taught by full-time faculty and other leaders on campus, including Father Garanzini and Patrick Boyle. The one semester, one credit-hour, course meets weekly for 50 minutes with additional activities outside of scheduled class time to assist in community development and the integration of curricular and co-curricular learning.

Seminars are offered within several of Loyola's Major areas of study, exposing students to the discipline as a possible Major. Importantly, no background knowledge in the topic area is needed for students, as they are encouraged to explore new areas of interest.

Why take a Loyola Seminar?

  • Continue striving for first-year success in this small, seminar-style class;
  • Get to know a faculty member from one of your areas of interest;
  • Gain more exposure to the Ignatian approach to learning: experience, critical reflection and action;
  • Explore a major field of study while studying a unique and intriguing topic;
  • Participate in a class that lets you ask questions about your academic transition to college;
  • Deepen your connection to Loyola University Chicago;
  • Stay engaged and excited about your education!

Loyola Seminar Topics—Spring 2016

002 Encountering the World's Religions

Tracy Pintchman
Wednesday 10:25–11:15 a.m., Sullivan Center

What is Passover exactly? Who was Muhammad? Why are so many Hindus vegetarian? In this course, we will explore distinctive elements of three of the world's major religious traditions: Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism. We will see movies about these religions, and we will visit the campus mosque and campus puja room to observe Muslim and Hindu forms of worship. We will discuss the historical development of these traditions as well as forms of contemporary practice.

005 Writing Your Knowledge

Sherrie Weller
Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m., Sullivan Center

While at Loyola, students will be expected to show what they know by writing academic essays. While most incoming students have basic skills and experience in writing and research, this class will give students extra practice and polish for the various writing projects for core and major classes. This seminar will focus on process strategies and research skills for drafting quality academic essays for courses in which students are currently enrolled. The content will be texts on essay writing, sample academic essays, and students' own essay drafts. This will be a workshop, so we will read and discuss student essays in process, as well as consider bigger questions such as what role writing plays in idea and knowledge building, how writing, in whatever form it takes, reflect a self in the world, and how writing is integral to a Jesuit education.

006 Weird Poetry

Meghan Forajter
Friday, 11:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

Poetry isn't boring! This course will introduce unfamiliar students to ideas in poetry by looking at weird forms, strange poems, and exciting production methods. Students will then connect these poetic ideas to other areas of communication in their academic & personal lives. This class will in­ elude hands-on activities where students write/create/cut-up their own poems and creative writing pieces.

008 Latinos in the US Media

Martin Ponti
Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m., Sullivan Center

This course examines the representation and evolving role of Latinos in various US media outlets, in an attempt to understand how commercial media frames ethnic identities. The course will also introduce students to media theory in order to question the challenges posed by com­mercial media to inform and serve the needs of its public.

010 Based on a True Story

Nadine Kenney Johnstone
Monday, 12:35–1:25 p.m., Sullivan Center

Why do we love true stories so much? In this class, we will watch live literature performances, reality TV clips, and movies based on true events. We will also share our own true stories and discuss why true tales are so captivating.

011 Chiraq? Crime and Justice in Chicago

David Olson
Wednesday, 2:45–3:35 p.m., Sullivan Center

This course will expose students to the study of criminology and criminal justice through the discussion of current news stories from the Chicagoland area, balanced with an overview of the empirical approach to better understanding issues related to crime and how the justice system operates. The goal of the course it to make students aware of how issues regarding crime and criminal justice influence their perceptions of safety and fairness, and the different disciplines and professions that are related to understanding and responding to crime and violence.

012 Religion, Violence and Peacemaking

William French
Wednesday, 12:35–1:25 p.m., Sullivan Center

This course will examine how religious appeals can be employed to promote justice and peace, but also aggression. We will examine the psychology of aggression and see how in times of conflict we tend to employ tight "us" versus "them" understandings that often tend to justify violence and hatred. By looking at the life and work Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Dalai Lama, we will examine three cases of structural violence and oppression and three religious approaches for working for justice, human understanding, and peace.

013 Vulnerability and Failure: The Art of Being Brave and Trying Again

Elisabeth Bayley
Friday, 12:35–1:25 p.m., Sullivan Center


Vulnerability is part of being human. The reality of this vulnerability is heightened when we fail at something. We begin to ask ourselves: How will I cope with this failure? How will I manage to get back up and try again? In this course we will explore the ideas of vulnerability, failure, and being brave. Through the use of the work of Brene Brown and short pieces of fiction this course will serve to look at these very important and ever present realities in our lives, and further, explore the different ways we respond to them.

019 Defining People's Culture

Anna Clara Ionta
Monday, 2:45–3:35 p.m., Sullivan Center

This course will engage first-year students in a lively, collaborative and stimulating "culture hunt", collecting, analyzing and reflecting on what elements embody the concept of culture. Our case study will focus around the Italian culture as an example of historical, social, economic, artistic cluster of components that students will identify, connect, interpret and comment. The course also aims at fostering a progressive, on-going discussion of how a culture creates its own values and of how these elements in turn influence habits and attitudes of that culture, as well as of how other people perceive a culture different from their own, including stereotypes. The course is intended to teach students the basics of a study project involving observation skills, source consulting, data analysis and critical thinking. It will also give them a little exposure to some Italian language expressions and sayings. Finally, this class will definitely prepare prospective JFRC's students, giving them an overview of Italian culture and customs beforehand and making their future Rome experience more familiar and enjoyable.

020 Writing the Walking Essay

Amy Bernhard
Monday, 2:45–3:35 p.m., Sullivan Center

Rebecca Solnit writes that walking ..."wanders so readily into religion, philosophy, landscape, urban policy, anatomy, allegory, and heartbreak." It sure goes a lot of places! For our seminar, we will take Solnit's theory with the end goal of producing a walking essay of our own. In other words, we'll look at the ways in which our physical surroundings come into harmony or conflict with our psychological selves. Calling upon the "walk" as an essay structure, ideas from the readings we'll do in class, and your own walks around Chicago, you'll write an organized, descriptive essay that takes us from the humble origins of your walk into some larger meaning.

021 The Liars Club

Alyson Warren
Wednesday, 2:45–3:35 p.m., Sullivan Center

Little white lies. Misrepresentation. Deception. Omission. Bluffing. B.S. If the truth is out there, what is it and who decides? Who, if anyone, can we trust? Through exploring fiction, memoir, creative non-fiction, unreliable narrators and more, this course will strive for honesty- if there even is such a thing.

022 The Literature of Faith and Doubt

John Murphy, SJ
Tuesday, 10–10:50 a.m., Sullivan Center

All relationships experience fidelity and doubt-certainly one's relationship with God has these moments. This study will consider how faith and doubt in the "other" are essential to the relationship, and it will argue that only by engaging this dynamic does any hope of permanence in the relationship come about. Our class work will begin by considering this dynamic in one novel, the Autobiography of St. Ignatius of Loyola and some poems as a first step in allowing its presence in one's own life.

027 Higher Education, Careers, and Social Inequality

Judson Everitt
Tuesday, 1–1:50 p.m., Sullivan Center

This course will introduce students to a sociological perspective on the institutions of higher education in which they find themselves. The course will also trace connections between higher education, the labor market, and various forms of social inequality.

028 Do #BlackLivesMatter? Chicago Schooling and Black Youth

Aurora Chang
Thursday 1–1:50 p.m., Sullivan Center

Do Black students' schooling experiences matter? What are the explicit policies, hidden curricula, and racial microaggressions that contribute to Black youths' schooling experiences in Chicago? The now infamous hashtag #BlackLivesMatter isn't the beginning of a movement, but a continuation of an ongoing struggle. In this course, we will explore the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the context of Chicago schooling and Black youth. Students will research topics, attend events, dissect multimedia texts, and engage in readings and discussion related to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Throughout the semester, we will actively build community, drawing from our collective passion for social justice in the lives of Black students and ultimately, all marginalized students.

032 Architecture of Happiness

Michael Murphy
Thursday, 1–1:50 p.m., Sullivan Center

How does one talk about happiness?  What makes us happy? How do we build happiness in our lives and in our world? What do the words 'truth,' 'goodness,' and 'beauty' mean for us today and how is it always under construction in our lives? These questions will be threaded through weekly discussions and readings on architecture, art, literature and spirituality.

033 Human Treatment of Animals

Pamela Osenkowski
Thursday, 2:30–3:20 p.m., Sullivan Center

This course is designed to acquaint students with contemporary and historical issues in the human use of animals. It will bring to light the many ways in which human beings use animals in science, education, as food and entertainment, as companion animals, among other topics. Students will recognize the broader social, political and legal structures that impact our view and treatment of non-human animals, as well as scientific and ethical issues related to these topics.

034 Medical Mysteries: Stories of Diagnosis and Detection

Amy Kessel
Thursday, 2:30–3:20 p.m., Sullivan Center

Medical diagnosis is much like solving a mystery; the body and its systems—as well as the social, economic, and cultural contexts in which the body lives—are texts that require close analysis and skills of detection to determine the causes of disease. In this course we will explore tales of puzzling diagnoses that reveal mysteries of illness and health. We will follow in the steps of some of the cleverest medical detectives in history as they solve baffling cases and track down diabolical diseases. Our short readings will include actual case studies, medical history, and intriguing fiction. We will also be investigating these mysteries as they are portrayed in television shows and films. In a session with a "standard patient" (an actor who portrays a patient to test medical students) we will try our own hand at solving a diagnostic mystery. Attendance and three short (2-page) response papers required.

035 Myths of American Politics

Alan Gitelson
Tuesday, 2:30–3:20 p.m., Sullivan Center

An understanding of politics and government isn't the only important component of our lives but, not surprisingly, our understanding of how politics and government interacts with our lives is essential. Americans have many misperceptions of politics and government. This class will distinguish between the myths and realities of American politics and government the truths and falsehoods that many of us have about the political system and process. This snap shot will hope­ fully engage you and suggest that being an informed and involved political citizen is crucial in our lives.

036 Acts of Faith, Service and Community Organizing in Chicago

Betsi Burns
Tuesday, 5–5:50 p.m., Sullivan Center

The course will review the constructs of social movements, social services and community organizing in Chicago by examining Jane Addams work at Hull House, Saul Alinsky's model of community organizing and Eboo Patel's creation of the Interfaith Youth Core. Our course materials, field trips and activities on and off campus will offer students the opportunity to actively learn and engage in these constructs. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on these constructs and their experiences as we explore being men and women for others and addressing societal challenges.

037 Human and Ecological Mortality

Aana Vigen
Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m., Sullivan Center

038 The Invisible Made Visible

Reinhard Andress
Thursday, 4–4:50 p.m., Sullivan Center

Alexander von Humboldt—animals, plant species, minerals, an ocean current, mountains, waterfalls, glaciers, rivers, marshes, craters, counties and towns are named after him around the world, even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon and an asteroid orbiting the sun. This 19th century German naturalist and explorer is all around us, yet invisible and largely forgotten, especially in the English-speaking world. This course would then serve to make him "visible" to the students, and have them connect with him on a multitude of disciplinary and interdisciplinary levels. Especially Humboldt's view of the interconnectedness of all things remains inspiring to us as we humans wrestle with our place in the world.

039 Getting Graphic: Illustrated Narrative from Stained Glass to Stan Lee

Amy Kessel
Thursday, 4–4:50 p.m., Sullivan Center

For millennia, humans have been telling stories with the aid of pictures. Back in the days when most people couldn't read, tapestries, friezes, and stained glass told tales of heroes, saints, leaders and their exploits. In our own time, we combine written words and pictures in very sophisticated ways to tell stories, in graphic novels, manga, and comic books. In this course we will trace the evolution of illustrative narrative. Why has it continued to be such a compelling medium of expression? What kinds of stories are told graphically? Is graphic narrative a high art form or junk entertainment? We will also explore the crossover from graphic narrative to film. In addition to examining illustrated stories throughout history, we will dive into contemporary texts by Art Spiegelman, Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, and of course, Stan Lee. Attendance and three short (2-page) response papers required. Field trip highly likely.

040 Intro to the Legal Profession

Elizabeth Ellis
Monday, 5–5:50 p.m., Sullivan Center

This course is designed to introduce students to fundamental legal principles and systems in the United States and allow them to explore careers within the legal field. Students will be given the opportunity to study our federal and state constitutions, consider key legal questions of our society, and observe the judicial system in process. Further, students will be exposed to traditional and alternative careers which rely upon an education in law.

042 and 043 Intro to Healthcare Professions

James Johnson
Tuesday, 6:30–7:20 p.m. OR 7:30–8:20 p.m., Sullivan Center

This class is an opportunity to explore and think more deeply about health professions. Our course materials, guest speakers, and on-site activities will offer a range of information on different health professions and opportunities to engage with various issues facing health care professionals today. You will also have an opportunity to reflect on your interests and aspirations, and examine a specific health profession in greater depth.

045 Intercultural Communication

Polina Pine
Tuesday, 4–4:50 p.m., Sullivan Center

Communicative tolerance is important professional skill of medical doctors, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists, and other health related professions. Interaction between people from different cultures and communicative tolerance will be introduced as empathetic, emotional interaction, implying a conscious recognition of the rights and freedoms of others, and not indifference to it. Students will be exposed to different cultures, ages and ethnic groups and types of communication. This course is connected to one of Five Hungers of Loyola A Hunger for a Global Paradigm.

046 Art, Creativity, and Possibility

Colby Dickinson
Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m., Sullivan Center

This course will explore the intersection of art, aesthetics, poetry, spirituality and cultivating one's inner creative potential. We will take time to explore just what it means to be inventive, creative, mindful, and contemplative in a world increasingly saturated with technology and cultural distractions. Through visual art, poetry, spiritual writings, music and other mediums, students will be encouraged to develop a space within themselves for fostering meaning in a con­ temporary, global world.

051 The Economics of Hunger in America

Dale Tampke
Wednesday, 4:15–5:05 p.m., Sullivan Center

This course explores hunger in America using the lens of economic analysis. Students will explore the current state of hunger in America, examine the factors in the economy that contribute to the current distribution of food resources, learn about how social choices impact the poor, and develop their ideas about root causes of hunger and possible solutions. A final project is required.